Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has left Accra for China to have negotiations on debt restructuring with officials of that country.
Sources say the Minister left over the weekend via Addis Ababa where he is attending the UNECA High-Level Ministers meeting on Global Financial Architecture.
After that meeting, Mr Ofori-Atta is expected to head to China, possibly on March 22, 2023.
The Minister who is leading the government delegation is expected to continue bilateral talks with China as well as seek financial assurances for Ghana’s programme with the International Monetary Fund.
The trip was postponed to the end of March because it coincided with the National People’s Congress of China meeting in early March 2023.
The Minister of Finance has already held meetings with officials of Exim Bank China in Ghana, all in the line of re-profiling the country’s debt to China.
Ken Ofori Atta on China visit
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in an earlier meeting with the German Finance Minister, said China has committed to bilateral negotiation.
In view of that, he is hopeful a deal can be reached to enable Ghana to present its case before the IMF Board.
“The big elephant in the room is China as in how they will comport themselves in the comparability of treatment because China wants to do bilateral. The discussion is on how they [China] can envelop as quickly as possible,” he said.
China visit and Ghana’s programme with IMF
Government sources maintain that the Finance Minister’s visit to China marks a step closer to IMF programme approval by the IMF Board.
The Finance Minister had earlier in an interview told Joy Business the government is working to re-profile the country’s debt with its external creditors including China and subsequently find ways to secure their commitments to cancel Ghana’s debt.
Securing a deal from these creditors will go a long way to getting IMF Board approval for Ghana’s Economic Programme.
Negotiations with Paris Club members
Joy Business understand that there has been some significant progress on negotiations with the Paris Club, with requisite documentation submitted and the expectation of the formation of a creditor committee expeditiously.
Ghana is hoping to restructure $5. 7 billion of its external debt, with China holding a third of it amounting to $1.7 billion.
The structure of Ghana’s external debt shows that the country owes China about $1.7 billion; Eurobonds, $13.1 billion and Multilateral, $ 8.1 dollars.
The rest are Paris Club countries, $1.9 billion and other creditors, $3.2 Billion.